By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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The best place to cash in such treasures is on the golf course with plants and trees in blossom everywhere you look, warm sun rays and the sweet smell of freshly-mown grass and all those plants and trees I mentioned stirred up by a slight breeze.
Add that type of atmosphere to our Olympic/coastal landscape, and you realize why we stick around here year-round.
I hope folks were able to get out on the course or driving range during that delightful stretch, and here’s to a quick return of perfection.
Girls golf outlook
So far this Olympic League girls golf season, it’s been a battle of the northern-most reaches of the Kitsap Peninsula (Kingston and North Kitsap high schools) against the North Olympic Peninsula schools (Sequim, the defending league champion, and Port Angeles).
Sequim and North Kitsap have faced each other, twice — one a three-team match where the Wolves and Vikings battled to a tie, with Kingston behind by 13 strokes.
In a more recent matchup, North Kitsap ended Sequim’s lengthy league unbeaten streak with a 21-stroke victory at White Horse Golf Course in Kingston.
The Wolves will play Kingston straight-up in the last match of the season.
Kingston edged Port Angeles by just two strokes in the Riders’ first match of the season.
Port Angeles will wrap the season in May with a match against North Kitsap.
Both North Olympic Peninsula teams will likely have to win out to keep the title on our side of the Hood Canal Bridge.
Port Angeles Riders
Girls coach: Beth Krause, third year.
Last year: The lady Roughriders finished 5-3 in Olympic League play, and returning junior Dana Fox played at state for the second straight season, finishing in 34th place.
Top returners: Dana Fox, jr.; Kate Haworth, so; Chloe Brown, jr; Taylor Rutz, sr.; Brittany McBride, jr.
Top Newcomers: Kylee Jeffers, jr.; Greta Gieseke, fr.; Maddie Boe, fr.
Outlook: Fox, a two-time state tournament qualifier, leads a Roughrider team that may need a year of seasoning before an Olympic League championship push.
“We have to continue to work on the mental side of the game, we have a lot of skilled players but it’s learning to be consistent and not letting one bad shot get in the way of the rest of the match,” Riders coach Beth Krause said.
Krause praised Fox’s improvement in this aspect of the game over the last year, and Fox’s scores are lower than this point last season.
“Usually her fairway play and drives are the biggest part of her game, but her putting and chipping are looking better and better,” Krause said.
“Last week she was spraying the ball a bit during a match and she told me afterward that her putting and chipping is what kept her in it.”
Fox’s goal is to make state once again and make a move toward a top-20 finish.
Coach: Garrett Smithson, seventh year.
Last year: Sequim won the Olympic League for the second straight year with an 8-0 league record, 10-1 overall.
Senior Elisa Sallee has made the last two state tournaments, while junior Maddy Fisher also played at state last season.
Top Returners: Maddy Fisher, jr.; Elisa Sallee, sr.; Caitlin Stofferahn, so.; Brianna Kettel, so. ; Kailee Price, so.
Top Newcomers: Annika Lawrence, sr.
Lawrence is averaging around a 52 which is good for top 10 in the Olympic League.
Her Running Start schedule at Peninsula College made her a practice-only player last year and bumped her out of a few events during winter quarter.
Outlook: Fisher and Sallee should both make state again, and the potential is there for Lawrence, Kettel and a host of other Wolves.
“Maddy is a consistently straight hitter, off the tee and with her approach shots, while Elisa is probably the longest hitter in the league,” Sequim coach Garrett Smithson said.
“I’ve seen her drive it 250-plus yards.”
Smithson added that each player needs to work on her short game to make it back to state and advance to play on Day 2.
“If they can dial in the short game over the next few weeks and be a little more consistent with their short game, both chipping and putting, they have a real good shot,” he said.
Smithson said his team was a little disappointed after dropping their first league match in two-plus seasons to North Kitsap.
They are responding well, however.
“Many of the players have been practicing during spring break, and I think it lit a fire under them,” Smithson said.
SkyRidge opener set
SkyRidge Golf Course in Sequim will hold their Spring Opener, a two-person scramble event on Saturday.
The tourney has a 9 a.m. shotgun start with both gross and net divisions.
Three drives must be used on each nine by each playing partner, so the weaker player will have to use at least six tee shots in total.
Cost is $60 per team, which includes the round, range balls, KP’s and lunch.
A team honeypot is an additional $20.
Carts are an additional $15 per seat.
To get in on the game, phone SkyRidge at 360-683-3673.
Port Townsend Golf Course hosted the 17th annual Kiwanis Golf Tournament during Saturday’s perfect spring weather and not surprisingly, “it was a huge success,” per Port Townsend assistant pro Gabriel Tonan.
“Feeling the warmth of the sun and seeing slightly sunburned faces was something new but nice to see.
“Having great weather always makes the tournament experience that much sweeter.”
This tourney is a pretty sweet deal itself, as proceeds from the tournament provide scholarships for people with special needs to attend camp at Camp Beausite near Chimacum.
Camp costs are higher at Beausite than say a Boys & Girls Club camp or YMCA camp due to the need for one-on-one assistance for many of the campers.
“A special thank you to all that were involved in getting the raffle prizes, Penny Saver for the great lunches and to the businesses who bought tee sponsor signs [for] making this fund raiser so successful,” Tonan added.
Good job by all.
For more on Camp Beausite, visit www.kiwaniscamp.com or phone 360-732-7222.
Plans for Peninsula
Peninsula Golf Club also enjoyed the recent batch of sunshine, per member Paul Reed, with “the grass growing hard and fast, and you can almost hear the fairways drying out from the combination of wind and sun.”
With spring comes a little spring cleaning on April 15-16: the first of two annual top-dressings (aerating and sanding), a necessary evil to maintain the quality and condition of the club’s top-flite greens.
Peninsula’s Summer League begins play next Wednesday. Golfers may still have a chance to join a team by phoning the pro shop at 360-457-6501.
Entry forms are also available in the pro shop for the 52nd annual Spring Shotgun on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26.
Wide World of Golf
Bubba Watson has a hovercraft golf cart.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The machine is real and can travel across water hazards, sand traps and even greens.
Apparently, the device displaces 33 percent less weight than a human foot so it can be driven right over greens.
Nothing I can write can adequately describe seeing this machine in action, so visit tinyurl.com/BubbaHoverCraft and be amazed!
Golf columnist Michael Carman can be reached at 360-417-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.